Working on the CG for BE 3

For the past week I have been working on the graphics and CGI for the third Bald Explorer episode entitled ‘Smugglers on the South Coast of England’. This is not really my speciality and I struggle with the various programmes I use to create reasonable animations. It is always a learning curve, but thank goodness for the good old Internet and tutorials. Someone has usually done more or less what I have wanted before and even better put together either a written or better still video version of what I want to do.

I try to keep them small and to the point so they simply enhance and explain information that is difficult to describe any other way. I don’t like to use computer graphics just for the sake of it or to show and say ‘Hey, look what I can do!’ But when you have a limited budget some parts of the story cannot be easily shot and a clever piece of CGI is perfect to get you out of a hole.

The good thing is that although it is a tricky job I am learning all the time and each time I try to push myself to do better effects.

There is not much more to shoot for the production. One scene I have to do is where I have a conversation with myself. That should be relatively easy for me as I am continually chatting to myself when at home. I aim to have two versions of me face to face. Its nothing new in video of course and those with just a smattering of experience will already be guessing ‘Split screen’ and you would be right.

So when is the release of Ep 3? Probably around the first week of February, allowing for time out to go and work and actually earn some money to pay the mortgage! I will keep you posted of course!

Episode One: Lewes

Richard Vobes is the Bald Explorer. He is traveling England with his Eriba Puck seeking out the history, customs and traditions of the country. This is the pilot episode, produced to test the concept for a potential series, either on the web or on TV. Lewes is the quaint county town that was once the hub of East Sussex. It was the site of the battle of Lewes and a place where Protestant Martyrs were burned at the stake during the reign of Queen Mary. Follow the exploits of this enthusiastic explorer as he uncovers the interesting stories of these picturesque locations in merry England.

Almost finished with the Smugglers

It’s almost at the end. At least the filming process is and it has taken a while to complete. I aim to get one more shooting day in and then the final compiling together of all the strands. I have loved filming in this particular part of Britain, on the border between East Sussex and Kent, down on the south coast and running about the Romney Marshes. It is another world, unique and of it’s own. Also we have been very lucky with the weather on the days we have been filming, although we have had a range different conditions and temperatures, including mist, sunshine and frost. It has been a most unusual winter.

Fairfield Church, one of the backdrops to the filming on the Romney Marshes

One of my favourite locations was at the deserted church at Fairfield, near Brooklands on the Romney Marshes. Originally a village, now gone leaving this renovated and completely isolated church amongst the drainage ditches with little bridges crossing beside it. Although away from the maddening crowd, (isn’t everything on the Romney Marshes?), amazingly there are still services held at this remarkable church.

On your bike Mr. Explorer

Another new aspect of this episode of the Bald Explorer was the introduction of the bicycle. Of course being so flat this expanse of Kent was perfect for zipping along under peddle power. From the power station and lighthouses at Dungeness to the road adjacent to the Royal Military Canal or encircling the Martello Towers or even along the Dymchurch barrier, the bicycle has been a marvelous device for getting the Bald explorer about.

Exploring Rye was a dream. The little town that is locked in time with its Landgate, Ypres Tower and Mermaid Inn. There was so much more to see and discover but as usual there wasn’t enough time in the one episode to fit it all in. I will definitely have to come back and shoot another programme there.

The old defensive fort which goes under many names from Ypres Tower to the Rye Museum.

With luck, one final day on location shooting should finish off this part of the production and then with all the computer graphics, maps and photographs all designed and produced we should be almost there to release the third adventure on the Bald Explorer to the waiting public. I do hope people will like it and forgive any errors made along the way.

Meeting Dr. Who in Rye on Location

It was a glorious day when Jimmy Hastell and myself headed off on what should have been a cold January morning, but the 2012 weather has so far been mild, much to everyone’s surprise and no one could have asked for more than we two budding film makers.

Its great to be back at helm of the Bald Explorer project and the first day’s shoot of this new year went like a dream. We were down on the boarder with Kent and East Sussex in the fabulous ancient town of Rye. Ancient not only by age, but by definition from its original official charter which lists it as part of the Confederation of Cinque Ports and Two Ancient Towns. So Jimmy and I were quite prepared to be humbled.

Actor Tom Baker takes time to chat with Richard Jimmy during shooting in Rye, east Sussex.

After shooting sequences down by the harbour on the River Rother we marched up the steep slope to the infamous Landgate, a flint arched tower that at one time formed the only entrance to the walled town. It was here that we stumbled across the old Time Lord, Tom Baker who was out doing a spot of shopping. He was certainly intrigued with what we were up to and the camera we were shooting with. I don’t recalled the legendary Dr. Who of my school days being a keen photographer, but the distinctive actor turns out to be a budding amateur.

Having engaged in a splendid chat for some 15 minutes discussing a multitude of topics from fiction to girlfriends we parted our ways and Tom whizzed off to a blue box on the other side of the Landgate. I am sure it was blue, but when I went to check it had completely vanished.

Filming often presents itself with unusual encounters, but this was a rather fabulous one to be treasured. Thanks Tom for taking the time to chat to us today.

Podcast: Betws-y-Coed, North Wales Explored

My walking buddy Harriet and I stayed over in a fabulous 16th Century coaching inn just outside the very popular walking resort of Betws-y-Coed in North Wales at the beginning of the year (2012). We wanted to have a very simple introduction to the wonders of the Snowdonia National Park. We were not aiming to go climbing any mountains on this occasion as the weather wasn’t forecast to be brilliant for views, so instead we took a river walk which I have to say was delightful. Have a listen to the podcast below…

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